Ever woken up with a stiff neck or neck pain? Often you have no idea what caused it.
It can be painful to move in all directions or just some motions. We call this acute torticollis. Latin for “twisted neck”.
When it is painful most people stop moving, but research suggests this just delays healing.
We find that most people have done ‘something’ to cause their neck stiffness but find it hard to understand exactly what it was. You probably do want to know so you could avoid it in the future.
If you ever spend time looking down at your mobile device or sit at a coffee shop and look sideways during a conversation this is probably enough if you do it for long enough.
Falling asleep on the train or bus or even sleeping on the lounge can put your neck in positions that will cause loading that will sometimes ‘injure’ the structures of the neck. The result is the muscle spasms that cause pain and limited motion.
So what can you do about it?
Initially if there has been no known injury try to keep moving to the pain barrier if you have retained any motion at all.
Most people think that heat packs help, But they may work well if the muscle is the primary problem but less if other structures and tissues are involved. So best to use ice packs in the acute phase.
Light massage may help.
Stop doing what may have contributed to the problem.
Of course if you have had a whiplash type injury or a head clash, absolutely seek care immediately.
If you have been having neck stiffness with or without pain for a while you should consider getting some help.
From a Chiropractic point of view the best results are obtained when we are able to treat the complaint early. Usually a chiropractor can help identify some probable contributing factors and give you the best chance of avoiding future issues.
So if you or someone you know is experiencing neck pain and it comes and goes or stays more than a week why not get a thorough Chiropractic examination to get to the underlying cause. The cause is more than likely not just muscle pain and needs further investigation.
If you have any more questions give us a call.